Home #VillageStroy N'diob

#VillageStory N’diob – A Community With a Green Vision

May 13, 2022


N'diob is located in the Fatick region. The community covers an area of 127 km² and is spread over 18 settlements. To the west of the community, the region is permeated by a fertile valley. Nature’s potential is what the inhabitants in N'diob want to preserve here. The community has been committed to going green for years and is striving to develop into a self-sufficient organic agricultural community independent of imports. Africa GreenTec would like to support this  community in its endeavor, especially since it has been looking for renewable energy solutions and reliable partners for quite some time in order to build sustainable value chains.

AGT01743- 1200px

Solar Energy for Climate Protection

The people of N'diob owe their awareness of the issue of climate protection largely to their mayor, Oumar Ba. He is an internationally recognized environmental activist and heads the Association of Green Communities of Senegal. He is also president of the national reforestation program. It was a great pleasure for the whole team to work with Mr. Ba as a close project partner in N'diob and we are proud of the result we jointly achieved.

The Solartainer® is already providing renewable energy to households in N'diob through the smart mini-grid. For more remote groups of houses, a separate solar system has also been installed.

AGT01198- 1200px

FilterUP for Clean Drinking Water

In addition to electricity and solar pumps, Africa GreenTec also provides clean drinking water to agriculture, households and schools that have long struggled with salinated water in the region. Our innovative water purification system with reverse osmosis technology ensures that villagers can obtain clean drinking water by the liter from a tap on the Solartainer.

In addition, Africa GreenTec has installed the first Cooltainer® "Made in Africa" in N'diob. The team is particularly proud of this. For the first time, the Cooltainer was produced in the new production facility in Dakar by local employees under the direction of Quirin Köppel. With the Cooltainer, farmers in the region, in particular, can store their crop yields in a cool place.


To increase safety in the village, the Africa GreenTec StreetUPs® (solar street lights) have  also been installed throughout the village.

In cooperation with the cooperative and the mayor of N'diob, we are trying to further develop our ImpactProducts and test new business models.

The Potential of Solar Pumps for Sustainable Agriculture


Many of the people in N'diob are farmers. Thus, the lives of families and village communities depend on a functioning agriculture system. Currently, most farmers in the region depend on expensive diesel pumps to irrigate their fields.

Africa GreenTec's solar pumps and Cooltainers will drastically reduce the cost load for farmers in the region. Furthermore, Africa GreenTec’s solar pumps have a high output, which also enables the cultivation of larger number of fields, thus generating more income for the farmers.


We are pleased that this project is supported by the Renewable Energy Solutions Program of the Export Initiative Energy of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, by Wilo, the Wilo Foundation, Siemens Energy and the AGT Foundation e.V.. With the support of our strong partners, we can achieve great things together.

Home #VillageStory Tambaga

#VillageStory Tambaga – Hidden Jewel in the Southwest of Mali

October 28, 2021


If you are on your way from Bamako to Guinea via the main road RN 24 in Mali, you will soon see the village of Tambaga at a crossroads. With its round huts covered with bast roofs and the expansive savannah landscape, it offers a picturesque sight for visitors. However, a sight not to be missed can only be found by turning onto the gravel road RN 22 in the village.


Lively Village Life Thanks to the Sustainable Energy of Africa GreenTec

Tambaga is characterized by small mud huts with bast roofs and agricultural businesses. Travel and trade on the main road offers business people and kiosk owners good opportunities to earn an income. With electricity from Africa GreenTec, drinks and other goods can now also be cooled cost-effectively. As in most villages on main roads, music, entertainment and lighting attract guests and customers to the stores and small restaurants in the evening. Hairdressers can use electric hair clippers and internet cafes invite people to linger. None of this was possible before the Solartainer, which has brought more life to the village.

DSC08998 (1)

The Mantantali Reservoir

The sight that our team remembers most is the reservoir in the northwest. If you take the strenuous but also exciting drive on the RN 22, you can reach the large lake in around three hours. 

Although the route is only 100 km long, the drive is long due to the gravel road and small streams that cross the road again and again. You have to be constantly alert and a patient driver. But the effort is worth it. The lake is nestled in a small mountain range with beautiful red rock formations. Redwood trees and other small villages with round huts and fields complete the picturesque picture. 

The largest village around the reservoir is called Manantali, after which the lake's dam is named. Many of the inhabitants of Manantali and the surrounding villages use the renewable electricity generated in the reservoir. Due to the large distances and sparse population, it is not practical to set up a wider electricity grid. Our solar containers are therefore also a sensible solution for electrifying the individual communities in this region.

Home #VillageStory Fanidiama

#VillageStory Fanidiama – Village of Opportunities

September 30, 2021


A rich harvest, lively trade and cultural exchange with the neighboring countries of Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast - Fanidiama offers its inhabitants the best conditions to lead a good life.

Fanidiama is located in the far south of Mali. The village is only a few minutes' drive from the borders of Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. The small town of Zégoua is also only 9 km away. This leads to very active trade and cultural exchange as well as comparatively good income and prosperity in Fanidiama, which is predominantly Christian. 

During our drive to Fanidiama, we can't stop being amazed. The landscape is incredibly beautiful. Farmers grow maize, wheat, cotton and peanuts in the fields around the village. As we drive past in our Africa GreenTec car, some of them raise their heads and look after us curiously.


Productive Agriculture and a Growing Service Sector in Fanidiama

Fanidiama therefore offers excellent conditions for productive agriculture. The farmers can export their harvest to the neighboring town and neighboring countries at good prices and without long transport routes. 

When we arrive in the center of Fanidiama, the place is bustling with business. Children play in the street, people sit in front of the kiosks and chat animatedly. The atmosphere is good in Fanidiama. Many service providers and craftsmen have set up their own businesses in the village. We particularly notice the many welding shops on the main street. There, the welders manufacture and repair bedsteads, sewing machines and much more for the local population and beyond. 

A very active social life has established itself in the village center. People from the village, visitors and traders from the region and neighboring countries buy and sell goods or exchange news from the region. People appreciate each other here and benefit from each other.


Sustainable Energy Solutions from Africa GreenTec as Enablers for More Growth

Fanidiama is therefore ideally suited as a location for an ImpactSite® from Africa GreenTec. Local craftsmen, service providers, restaurant and café owners can use the electricity to expand their business activities. Our cold stores and solar pumps enable the many farmers to increase their crop yields and minimize losses.

With access to electricity and sustainable appliances, local people can also improve their private lives and living conditions. Refrigerators, fans, educational and entertainment electronics as well as street lighting and electricity for public facilities support local development and the satisfaction of the entire village community.

Fanidiama is well on the way to becoming a thriving small town. We want to support this with our sustainable solutions.

Home #VillageStory Bananso

#VillageStory Bananso – Village of Gold: Promotion to a Small Town Through Efficient Management

August 02, 2021


A Village Experiences the Gold Rush

Bananso is located in southern Mali, not far from the border with Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. The village has a large number of gold deposits. The local people have been operating a large and many small gold mines for some time and have been able to build up a good economic basis. This has led to a large influx of workers from outside, which has turned Bananso into a bustling small town in recent decades.


The town comes to life mainly during the dry season. During this time, seasonal workers come to the town from all over to be part of the gold rush and help in the mines with grinding, sieving and digging. Entire tent cities are built around the mines and the entertainment program and nightlife flourish. In the rainy season, most seasonal workers move away from the town and back home to their families, as the mosquitoes make working almost impossible.

In the rainy season, the river right next to the village becomes a major challenge. The bridge that connects the village to the main road disappears under water during this time and people either opt for a 150 km detour or dare to cross the river. Crossing the river is part of everyday life for the inhabitants - mopeds, animals and all kinds of goods are loaded onto small barges and transported across the river. However, the crossing is not without danger and the inhabitants expressly warn inexperienced people not to cross the river without further ado.

Bananso Has an Ideal Infrastructure

There is always plenty of business in the village during the day too. The range of goods on offer and the panorama of rivers and mountains provide good recreational opportunities. There is a large soccer pitch where young and old can play together. The red earth surface offers excellent hard pitch conditions. There is also a small health station in the village, which can provide quick help, especially in cases of acute malaria.


The Solartainer has changed a lot in Bananso too

More Cooling Possibilities Through Sustainable Electricity

The electricity from the solar containers is mainly used to cool food and drinks as well as for private use. Thanks to the good income from the gold trade, many families can afford private refrigerators, fans and televisions. Small restaurants and kiosks use the electricity to offer cool drinks and fresh goods. 

For example, a local drinks retailer immediately ordered another larger electricity connection and explained to us that it is much cheaper and more effective to cool his drinks in electrically powered freezers than having to buy and transport ice for them. He can now save a lot of time, make more sales and use the additional money generated to expand his business.


Power grid with smart meters

New Internet Services for the Future?

We also see great potential in offering and using internet services. Due to the high number of users, especially in the business district, the mobile phone network is currently overloaded time and again. For the future, there are also plans to run some of the machines used for gold mining on electricity instead of diesel. We are currently in the evaluation phase here together with the local people, as the equipment requires a high level of power.


Aida Schreiber with women from Bananso


Bananso assembly

Home #VillageStory Gouméra

#VillageStory Gouméra – A Magnificent Metamorphosis: From a Village to a Small Town

April 20, 2021


The countries of Senegal and Mauritania are not far from Gouméra, which is why the city has developed into a melting pot of different cultures

Gouméra is located north of the regional capital Kayes. Due to its location in eastern Mali, it is not far from Senegal and Mauritania. Thanks to lively trade with neighboring countries and a pronounced diaspora – people whose roots are in Africa but who currently live in other countries, such as France or Germany – Gouméra has good financial conditions compared to other villages we have visited in Mali. This has allowed the former village to develop into a small town with a lot of potential. 

The community has its own village treasury, which is used to organize the administration. The Sonnike people who live in Gouméra are very enterprising and the traders in particular benefit from the through traffic. 

The size and location of Gouméra were perfect for setting up a regional warehouse and office for Africa GreenTec, from which we can now supply five other villages with materials and dispatch technicians.


Solar Energy Beats Diesel Generators

As in many other villages in Mali, the electrification of Gouméra was already planned before the turn of the millennium. Together with the government, the former operator implemented an approx. 9-kilometer-long power grid 10 years ago. However, the power supply with diesel generators was never finally implemented. Before we were able to set up our solar container in the north of the city, there were long negotiations about the exact location. The residents had previously only known loud, smelly diesel generators and feared that our solar container would also generate a lot of noise and disturb the dead in the nearby cemetery. 

Once everything was sorted out, we received an enthusiastic welcome in May 2018. The children had practiced a song especially for Africa GreenTec, which gave our team one of the most emotional experiences of our work to date. We were able to restore the existing power grid and use it as the basis for our own smart meter network.

Cozy Evenings and More Life In the Village Thanks to Electricity

Since then, the small town has changed even more. Gouméra was already very lively before our arrival, with several large mosques, a savings bank and sturdy two- to three-storey houses dominating the southern part of the town. With street lighting and electricity now available for consumption, the positive hustle and bustle on the streets has intensified and people now enjoy the evening hours together. The numerous new buildings in the city also show that the diaspora, motivated by the electrification of the small town, is once again investing more in real estate back home.


Thriving Trade and Fresh Fish

Due to the good financial conditions, most people book our higher electricity tariffs in order to be able to operate private televisions, refrigerators and radios. The main beneficiaries of the productive electricity are the businesses on the thoroughfare and traders who have set up a fresh fish delivery service to Mauritania, for example. We see great potential here for our Cooltainer® in the future, which can further optimize the cold chain.

The Peulh settlement, around which large herds of cattle graze, is also located in the north-west of Goumera. The best cattle in Mali come from this region. This is the reason why there is also a biogas pilot plant next to the Solartainer®, which is powered by the cow dung.

Home #VillageStory Lambatra

#VillageStory Lambatara – The Power of the Diaspora

January 18, 2021


The wind blasts our faces with sand at such a speed that almost brings tears to our eyes. We are in Lambatara, a village on Mali’s national highway. The passing cars kick up so much dust that, from a distance, Lambatara looks more like a mirage than a real village.


Autonomous Network Financing With the Help of the Diaspora

Lambatara is one of the villages that clearly demonstrates the importance of the African diaspora. Diaspora generally refers to an ethnic or denominational group whose members are scattered over large parts of the world and thus represent a religious or ethnic minority in numerous foreign cultural areas. The largest diaspora from Lambatara is in France. Many Africans living abroad often have an intrinsic need to do something for their community in their home country and therefore invest in the "development" of their towns or villages. In Lambatara, for example, it was possible to finance the entire power grid from diaspora funds.

The will and enthusiasm of not only the diaspora, but also the people in Lambatara, was enormous. A very highly respected doctor in the village acted as a trustee. He, with the help of others, collected deposits in the village from people interested in solar power from Africa GreenTec. The money was only paid to AGT when we actually turned on the electricity.

This not only ensured that Africa GreenTec would supply electricity to the residents, but also that we had enough electricity customers so that the project would pay for itself.  As we have already reported in other village stories, the topic of "electricity projects" in sub-Saharan Africa is a rather tricky one in terms of trust. In many places, promises have been made by other companies and organizations and then simply not kept. This is why there is often a general lack of trust in this area.


The power poles were reinstalled completely


Aida and Torsten Schreiber at the preliminary meeting with the inhabitants of Lambatara


Many of the power connections are currently used to operate the refrigerator

Lambatara – Village of Refrigerators

One challenge we face in Lambatara is that many people have refrigerators, which leads to relatively high grid loads at certain times. Currently, our solar container can handle these, but our technical team has already developed new ideas in cooperation with our smart meter service provider as a precaution.


Attention: It's Getting Technical!

Since our power supply does not provide 24 hours of power, when it comes back on, the power is drawn from the peak power reserve. Sometimes the power is enough, because all households automatically and simultaneously draw power, but sometimes, it’s not.

To prevent this from happening, the starting currents of the meters have to be reduced and distributed. The technical team has therefore worked out how to stagger the start-up currents so that the individual households reactivate their power supply with a delay of a few seconds.

Thanks to modern technology and smart grid control, this was easy to implement and an important learning that prepared us well for the coming villages.

Home #VillageStory Kaï

#VillageStory Kaï – A Village With a Magical Atmosphere

August 21, 2020


Kaï is very close to our hearts, because the people there welcomed us with so much enthusiasm and motivation. They have really fought to get electricity.


An Extraordinary Welcome, Which Left a Lasting Impression

When we visited the village with our team for the first time, a huge column of 50 young motorcyclists was already waiting at the crossroads. They were all waving with big grins on their faces. They had come to greet us and accompany us to the village. 

Kaï is located in the Sikasso region in southern Mali and had no access to electricity until this point. Initially, Africa GreenTec only went to villages that already had an electricity grid. 

But why do some villages already have an electricity grid and yet no access to electricity? In the past decades, there have been many attempts to electrify rural regions in Mali. These projects were mostly based on diesel generators as power generators or failed during the development of the project.

In Kaï, the analysis of the circumstances therefore suggested that the village would not be one of the first projects to be electrified. However, the people in Kaï were so enthusiastic and motivated that they organized themselves completely to make an electricity grid possible. Funds were generated from the diaspora and sufficient money was raised in the village with a great deal of initiative. Tree trunks were procured and erected as electricity pylons. In this way, the village simply built the entire electricity grid itself without having to take any money from the project budget.

Kaï is very agricultural. Among other things, cashews, mangoes, peanuts and tomatoes are grown, which is where our Cooltainer is particularly useful for the future.
Better cold chains mean that the harvest can be stored for longer, valuable food does not spoil every day in the sun and the farmers can offer their goods at better prices as the pressure to sell is reduced.


What's the Meaning of Family?

Kaï consists of many small courtyards with round huts. There is a communal cooking area in the middle of almost every courtyard. This is quite typical for West Africa. In West Africa, family usually doesn't just mean father, mother and child, but also includes neighbors and friends. There is a nice saying that sums up the local attitude to family well: "It takes a whole village to raise a child." In keeping with this motto, all the inhabitants of a farm often sit around the cooking area in the evening, eating, drinking and having fun together.


Unique Opening Ceremony

The evening we arrived in the village, the people threw a big party for us, which went on late into the night. There was a lot of dancing and laughter. The atmosphere was indescribable. After the party, we lay awake in our beds until dawn. The vibrating and rhythmic sound of the dancers stamping on the sandy ground was still ringing in our ears.


The Importance of Electricity In Health Care

Unfortunately, our technical director at the time couldn't be there. A few days earlier, we had been traveling in the southern region. We took off from Bamako when he suddenly felt ill. At first, everyone suspected he just had a cold, but as his temperature rose, the suspicion of malaria quickly arose. However, the malaria test was negative, so a day later he went to hospital in Sikou with our founder Aida Schreiber and was tested for typhoid. The hospital was well organized and with the help of Aida, who was able to interpret in German and Bambara, communication was no problem. Our colleague was given paracetamol for the next few days and slowly got better and better.

The importance of electricity, especially in hospitals, was brought to the fore during our trip. How many births could take place more risk-free with electricity, how many operations could succeed with a reliable power source? How many doctors could treat their patients better at night in an emergency? All these questions drive us in our work.

Home #VillageStory Amaloul

#VillageStory Amaloul – Our First ImpactSite in Niger

August 14, 2020

DSC06602 (1)

The story of the first pilot project in Niger begins in March 2017 with an invitation from Minister of State Ouhoumodou. Together with our co-founders Andreas Rohardt and Biba Nainou Dogo, we visit Ouhoumodou's birthplace Amaloul Nomade in the Tahoua region in the center of Niger. The journey takes us through the Sahara, along the border with Mali. When we arrived in the village, we were surrounded by enthusiastic people eagerly waiting for electricity.

Pilot Project ("1000 Villages") With the Government of Niger

At the time, Amaloul was an important pilot project for the government of Niger. Africa GreenTec was to become a strategic partner for the electrification of the least developed country in the world at the time. However, there were no plans or ideas on how to promote the electrification of rural areas. Africa GreenTec planned to implement a holistic project based on the experience gained in Mali. Amaloul was ideal for the pilot project as it is located quite far away from the capital Niamey and the national power grid and has a suitable population (6,000 - 7,000 people).

planungsarbeiten_in_Amaloul (1)

Cooperation with the Second German Television (ZDF)

Back in Germany, ZDF also got in touch. The political situation in Germany was very tense at the time, as we were in the middle of the so-called "refugee crisis". Every day, we saw images on television of people making their way to Europe in the hope of a better life, often losing their lives in the Mediterranean. Solutions were being sought. We had recently won the environmental prize as a team. There was an editor from ZDF on the jury who knew that we were currently active in Niger. As the region in which we were planning our pilot project is the hub of the refugee routes in sub-Saharan Africa and ZDF had already planned a documentary about the smuggling routes in this region, he was very interested in a second documentary about our work.

Amaloul1 (1)

The trip with ZDF was already planned for September. This meant that the entire project planning, production and logistics had to be implemented within 5 months. This was a major challenge for the entire team, as only a first prototype had been built in Mali up to that point. The dismantling and transportation of the Solartainer was filmed in Hainburg in July and filming began in Amaloul in September. The footage was used to produce the ZDF documentary: the solar energy makers. At the end of the project, we could look back with pride, because we had achieved what we thought was impossible. True to the motto: WE DO. the first community in Niger was electrified with Solarstorm.

And How Do Things Look Today?

A few years later, the plant is still standing. We and the community are very satisfied with the progress made. In addition to many successes, unforeseeable challenges also arose time and again, as is so often the case. Amaloul is located in a region where people often have to contend with extreme weather events. 

For this reason, we occasionally had technical problems with the radio connection in the ImpactSite smart meter system, as strong winds damaged one of our antennas. We were able to successfully repair the antenna and further develop the robustness of our technology. The signals from the smart meters were transmitted again without any problems and the electricity grid could be used without interruption. The team built a kind of radio tower to increase the transmission power in future.


The air conditioning system in the Solartainer was also adapted as part of the further development of our systems, as extreme temperatures prevail on the edge of the Sahara and our advanced cooling system can also prove effective here. In addition, hungry goats challenged the Africa GreenTec employees' ability to improvise. A wall had to be built so that the goats could no longer nibble on the cables. Due to the rainy season, whose torrential downpours can exert enormous forces, additional ditches were dug to allow the water to drain away.

These challenges were very important in order to learn for the following projects and to continuously develop ourselves and our team.

Home #VillageStory Sirakoro

#VillageStory Sirakoro – A Very Special Village

August 07, 2020


Sirakoro has a very special charm. Compared to other Malian villages, it is more "traditional" and not built in a square pattern. With its winding streets, it looks as if it has developed naturally and by itself. The village is divided by a small river where a pond has formed. Many white water lilies float on the surface of the pond. In combination with the women washing their clothes in colorful robes and the lush green surroundings, the result is an incredibly colorful and paradisiacal picture.

Implementation of the "Kobo" Tool

Africa GreenTec is traveling to Sirakoro with a large team of almost 30 employees to use the new "Kobo" tool for the second time. "Kobo" is a software that digitizes and simplifies data recording. Clean data recording is very important in the evaluation phase of a village project, during the planning and construction of a power grid and to ensure good customer service. In Sirakoro, the new digitization process will therefore be used for the first time right from the start of the project. 

Six weeks earlier, we had already used the tool in Djoliba. We gained a lot of new knowledge about how to use the system. Our team wants to use this knowledge to continuously develop the software further, which is not always easy when the internet connection is constantly interrupted.


Digitization Simplifies Data Acquisition

"Kobo enables our team to access the data digitally from Bamako. Thanks to this function, we can structure and control all processes better, which has quickly won over our communications team in particular. Our technical team is also enthusiastic and instead of using pen and paper to record all information by hand, everyone walks through the village together with the tablet and all important data can be saved directly in the system. 

The plan was to use the new tool to simplify processes and work faster as a result. In theory, this is quite simple, but in practice it proved to be more difficult than expected due to the local conditions. Our technicians sometimes recorded GPS data from potential customers outside our network, as this is what was shown to them on the lists. The connections and the GPS data did not match. In addition, some villagers who wanted a connection were not on the list of prospective customers, while others were simply put on it. In the end, however, all the teething problems were resolved and 200 households were successfully connected.

Signing contracts is also not always easy in Mali, as the illiteracy rate is high and the villagers naturally do not want to simply sign something they do not fully understand - as is the case in Sirakoro. Some people can read and write, but in Bambara. French is not always understood in written form. In these situations, we realize how important it is that our team speaks the local languages and is familiar with the values and customs of the region. 

In addition, there is often general mistrust when we visit a village for the first time. In the past, local people have often been promised by other organizations that electricity will be supplied. In some cases, money has even been collected without the promise being kept in the end.

Friendly Welcome

In Sirakoro, however, the joy of our visit prevailed and we received a very warm welcome. The village community seemed to be motivated by the fact that we came to their village from far away and with a large team. They also quickly realized that we really wanted to make a difference. Without a Solartainer on site, the mediation work for our communications team on the first visit was naturally challenging, as they were unable to show the villagers what to expect in practice.


Local Specialities

The food in the village is also very varied and the typical village bread is very popular. It is a long, narrow baguette that is traditionally baked in wood-fired ovens. Our insider tip: Very good with meat and sauce - even better with the beans straight from the village.